How not to do journalism

It’s been a rough couple weeks for reporting.

An award-winning reporter in Connecticut was fired making up stuff in his story — not just fake quotes but fake people.

Today, there’s a story about a Michigan reporter in his 50s who felt the need to write about the unethical things he did as a reporter in his 20s.

Yeesh.

Happily, journalism doesn’t tolerate this kind of stuff the way it used to. Read “Gaily, Gaily,” Ben Hecht’s memoir’s of life as a cub reporter in Chicago a century ago and you’ll discover a journalism career founded on questionable ethics and making stuff up.

Guys like that used to be loveable rogues. Now they’re just rogues. That’s progress.

At the risk of sounding defensive (too late?), in 25+years in journalism, I haven’t run across many reporters who didn’t try to do the job right.

– Paul Tosto

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